Another glass of wine? Why not? It had become my routine most evenings, a "comforting" glass of wine or two or maybe even three to help me relax. Wine was helping me "cope" with life, with a tough day, a tough week, a tough year..... Then at the weekends a few glasses turned into a bottle or two - a glass of sparkling wine with a meal out or a social drink with friends. Shall we order a bottle? Why not? It's better value for money!
Over the last year, it was evident that a poor diet and excessive amounts of wine had caused me to gain a lot of weight. I knew it, but I figured it would pass. I'll get back on track after my holiday. I'll get back on track at the end of this month. I've had a difficult time, I'll make a change next week.....
Then in September I started to train for the Cayman Island's half-marathon, as I was training I figured I'd stop drinking alcohol. It was a no brainer. It made sense. And that's when I began to question the patterns in my alcohol consumption. You see I didn't seem to be able to stop myself, I began training and yet the glasses of wine didn't stop.
I was sluggish. I was slow. Every time I went for a "training" run my limbs would feel tight and I'd wake up heavy and aching. It must be the training I figured and then I'd head to the kitchen to pour a nice relaxing glass of wine to help ease the tension. My training plan was not really going to plan and it bothered me, but I made my excuses. The weather's not great, I'm getting home late from work, next week..... next week......
And then at work one day, as I was in the rest rooms, I looked at my face. I really looked at my face and I was worried at what I saw. My face was puffy and I looked sickly, I felt heavy and unwell, I knew I had to do something. I needed to stop drinking alcohol. I needed to prove to myself that I didn't have a problem. This was about me - a personal test of my own self-discipline. It was the end of October, I figured November's around the corner, my mantra will be "November, No Alcohol." And I stopped drinking for thirty days.
Initially, it was hard, I missed my relaxing glass of wine routine, it was so established it was difficult to break. But I was determined and I made the necessary substitutions: a sparkling water with a dash of lime, a "comforting" cup of tea and an occasional fruit juice to liven things up! I made sure there were no bottles of wine in the house to tempt me. I asked my husband to avoid making any purchases on my behalf me at the liquor store.
One of my hardest nights out was a fortnight or so into my challenge, I went to a karaoke bar with some new work colleagues. Everyone else was enjoying an alcoholic beverage and I was desperately guzzling down unpleasant tasting diet sodas. Performing Tom Jones whilst stone-cold sober was not one of my finest moments, but it was possible. I didn't need an alcoholic drink inside me to be sociable.
Another moment of weakness was towards the end of my challenge when I received positive feedback from an OFSTED (school inspection) report. I cannot tell you how much I wanted to celebrate with a glass of bubbly. But I had come so far, it took a lot of will-power but I declined my husband's kind offer to pop out and get a bottle to celebrate!
After 30 days, I was proud of the fact that I had completed my challenge and survived a whole month without an alcoholic drink. I felt better, my skin was clearer and I seemed to have a lot more energy. I also completed more training runs for the half-marathon and generally felt more optimistic and happy. Although my weight had not dropped as I had hoped, my bank account was definitely healthier - a bottle of wine in Cayman costs some $15 to $25 and I had easily been drinking three to four bottles a week. I was quids in!
Tomorrow I'm all set to run my half-marathon and although I'm not saying I've stopped drinking alcohol for good, I'm pretty sure that if I complete the event, my celebratory drink will NOT involve anything alcoholic.